When is best time to get pregnant?

  • During fellowship—deliver right after

    Votes: 6 50.0%
  • During fellowship—deliver 6 months after

    Votes: 2 16.7%
  • After fellowship during first year as attending

    Votes: 3 25.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 1 8.3%

  • Total voters
    12

Surgeryislife

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Hi all! I’m a third year FM resident doing a one year surgical OB fellowship next year. I am getting older and my husband and I want multiple kids (probably 3+). I’ll be 30-31 during fellowship year. The fellowship schedule is strenuous (q2 home call for c-sections, one 30 hour call monthly, one period of working two weeks on per month). It’ll be stressful—new city, new skills, new responsibilities. But, I need to start trying for a baby soon before it’s too late. My top priority is having a family, followed by my medical career. I’d never forgive myself if I was unable to get pregnant due to waiting too long. Ideally, I could get pregnant during fellowship, but I’m worried about the physical demands of the job. I also am not sure how to time things. I’ll need to search for a job after fellowship and if the stars aligned and timing worked out I could have the baby between fellowship and new job and then start new job after time off for maternity leave. However, I realize this may not work. What do you think in terms of timing pregnancies? I imagine it’d be hard to find an attending job if I’d be delivering soon after starting, right? Please help! This is super stressful.
 

Bronze Medal

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Apr 30, 2015
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There’s no perfect time and all of these options are doable. All things being equal I would err on the side of trying earlier because you never know if sub-fertility or infertility will be an issue for you.
 
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togaedere

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Dec 2, 2010
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Completely agree with above. There are no guarantees with this. I was a non traditional resident and had my first kid in residency at the age of 38 and am pregnant with my second in my first year of attendinghood at the age of 40. Granted I’m not in a surgical field but being pregnant during training sucks but you do your best. I had some minor fertility issues and suffered a loss as well so it really is about starting to try and working it out from there. You are young also, so you likely have lots of fertile time left tho I do have colleagues who have had to go down the IVF route as well. Trying now allows you to figure out what you’d need going forward and what to prepare for. Theres no ideal time.
 
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AMEHigh

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With fellowship being only 1 year I probably personally wouldn’t try to get pregnant during fellowship. You’ll have doctor’s appointments and then you never know if you might need to take unexpected time off plus you don’t want to be rushed after having the baby. I know you said family is important but if you’re doing the fellowship you might as well get the most out of it.

So I would start trying mid-way through fellowship. And just a reminder that there are other practical things to consider too such as health insurance and not having enough leave saved up for paid maternity leave that you can consider as well.

30 is still young so most likely things will be fine!
 
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Oct 10, 2020
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If you're starting a new job as an attending, would you have enough/any paid maternity leave accrued to be able to stay off of work for a while?
 

Bronze Medal

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If you're starting a new job as an attending, would you have enough/any paid maternity leave accrued to be able to stay off of work for a while?
This is definitely a consideration. Most places offer 6 weeks of FMLA, but you have to have worked for the employer for 1 year prior. Other employers also offer a separate “parental leave.” At my place of work this is an additional 6 weeks of paid leave. So between FMLA and parental leave, employees here could take 12 weeks of paid leave. Vacation and sick days could also be used if you didn’t qualify for FMLA, but if you haven’t worked somewhere very long then you won’t have accrued many of these. The last option is to take unpaid leave for any additional time you want to take off.
 
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rokshana

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This is definitely a consideration. Most places offer 6 weeks of FMLA, but you have to have worked for the employer for 1 year prior. Other employers also offer a separate “parental leave.” At my place of work this is an additional 6 weeks of paid leave. So between FMLA and parental leave, employees here could take 12 weeks of paid leave. Vacation and sick days could also be used if you didn’t qualify for FMLA, but if you haven’t worked somewhere very long then you won’t have accrued many of these. The last option is to take unpaid leave for any additional time you want to take off.
however, as a fellow, ACGME time off trumps any hospital/facility policies. Generally you can only have 4 weeks off for any reason/year of training otherwise you may have to extend training.
 
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gutonc

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however, as a fellow, ACGME time off trumps any hospital/facility policies. Generally you can only have 4 weeks off for any reason/year of training otherwise you may have to extend training.
For longer fellowships (Cards, GI, Hem-Onc, PCCM) this is less of an issue as you can easily work around this with research and other electives. But yes, for 1 and 2 year fellowships, this can be a concern.
 

sunshinefl

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It’s 5 weeks/35 days per year, with an additional 35 days. So in a 3 year IM residency, you can miss 140 days total.

not sure how it applies to OP with a 1 year fellowship not in IM, but I’m going into IM so that’s what I’m familiar with, and figured I would put the links here for other readers.
 
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Bronze Medal

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however, as a fellow, ACGME time off trumps any hospital/facility policies. Generally you can only have 4 weeks off for any reason/year of training otherwise you may have to extend training.
Sure, this is something to take into consideration. However, in the grand scheme of things extending training by a few weeks is not a big deal for most people. I extended residency by a few weeks and started fellowship late. I knew this would be the case and disclosed it on all of my fellowship interviews. It was a little inconvenient for my fellowship program, but they were understanding.
 

rokshana

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It’s 5 weeks/35 days per year, with an additional 35 days. So in a 3 year IM residency, you can miss 140 days total.

not sure how it applies to OP with a 1 year fellowship not in IM, but I’m going into IM so that’s what I’m familiar with, and figured I would put the links here for other readers.
This new though right? It’s not effective this year...though I guess for those applying this year, it would apply...nice to see that they are giving consideration for family leave.
 
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rokshana

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Sure, this is something to take into consideration. However, in the grand scheme of things extending training by a few weeks is not a big deal for most people. I extended residency by a few weeks and started fellowship late. I knew this would be the case and disclosed it on all of my fellowship interviews. It was a little inconvenient for my fellowship program, but they were understanding.
You’re right, in the grand scheme it really isn’t a big deal, but there will be people who look for these longer PTO/sick leave and then will be surprised that in the end doesn’t apply to them without extension of training.
 
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